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Justin Modica (@jmod_knives)

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Justin from @jmod_knives and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. These spotlights are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!


Name:  Justin Modica
Business Name:  Modica Knives
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Socials: IG: @jmod_knives  TikTok: @jmodknives
Specialties:  Bladesmith and Leatherssmith
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
My name is Justin Modica, I'm 34 and I'm a knife maker and a skateboarder. I discovered the art of making knives 5 years ago but have been making art my whole life so I feel it came naturally. Skateboarding plays a big role in what I choose to make. I like gnarly blades and colorful creative handles and tooling graphics on sheaths. Kind of like a skateboard. The metal on the trucks are usually grinded and beat to shit and the boards usually have bright creative illustrations. 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Probably my determination to learn something new. Whether it's a new technique or just figuring out an easier way to get something accomplished.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
definitely my anvil. Something about manipulating steel by hand with a hammer really gets me goin
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
probably a chef's knife I made for a Thrasher filmer Rhino. Handle looks like painted flames on a motorcycle tank or something
What BA product is your favorite and why?
definitely yalls 2x72 belts. I've tried all kinds of other abrasive company but nothing shreds through metal like benchmark belts
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
the surfacing conditioning belts give a very impressive finish to steel. It's nice to finish a knife without having to hand sand the blade.
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
using a leather backing on the back of your grinders platen. Really helps soften the grind lines on finish work
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
Probably Geoff Rowley with Civil Ware Knife company. He's one of my favorite skateboards and he manufactures his own knives. I feel like we could design something really cool. We have talked before so it might just happen in the future!
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
I'd say make more of your own tools. The more time in front of the anvil figuring out how to move steel the better when starting out
What are your future plans for your shop?
Probably wiring up more amps to my 220 outlet and getting a power hammer
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
To anyone wanting to get into a craft or hobby, the first thing is to just start. Buy those few tools and some abrasives that will get your foot in the door and just start creating!  


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Justin! I really dig your handles, especially your favorite piece. It really does look like flames!. Interesting tip with the leather backing as well. Cheers!
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